If We Were Having Coffee // A Scholar at Heart

Hello dear readers! Happy Sunday and welcome. Thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up.

I’m happy to have no reason at all to leave the house today. I have a short to-do list, a podcast or two to catch up on, and Emily Dickinson’s poems for the late afternoon, if I can stay motivated and focused that is. There is always the possibility the lure of the couch and a few good movies I’ve seen a hundred times already could become too strong to resist and nothing at all will get done. I’d be happy either way.

In the meantime, pull up a chair and, please, help yourself to a cup. I’m missing my espresso machine today but the Moka pot is almost as good. I’m adding a bit of coconut cream if you’re interested or I’ve got strong cold brew and vanilla soy milk too. Let’s talk about last week.

“Coffee justifies the existence of the word ‘aroma’.”

― Glen Duncan, I, Lucifer

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my work week was a tough one. I was much busier than I had expected I would be and that got in the way of all the things I had wanted to do for me.

We’ve been hiring a lot of new people and that means I have been doing a lot of training and helping. We’ve also had a lot of bad weather lately and that means I’ve been returning later from my route in the morning and leaving early in the afternoons. Then arriving back to the terminal late again and more and more exhausted as the week wore on.

It doesn’t help much that our department is cracking down some on overtime and many of my coworkers weren’t available to help me out. On the other hand, it’s kind of good a good thing too because I’m never expected to work for free or for more than the standard 40 hours. I may be busy, and I may not have a lot of help, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. There are breaks and the work ends at the end of the day no matter what. 


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that last Tuesday I was pretty shaken up by a rather gruesome car accident I witnessed involving a child pedestrian.

I didn’t see the child hit, thank God, but I did arrive just moments after it happened and say the young girl laying in the road unconscious and motionless. It saddened and disturbed me deeply and I took some time to get over it.

I have no updates on the girl except that she survived but had to undergo surgery. What worries me is that it won’t be long before I see this tragedy play out again. To be honest, I’m shocked I haven’t seen it before. This is an area where kids cross daily to go to school by darting across 6 lanes of traffic. There are crosswalks just blocks away in each direction but both take students out of their way. The kids prefer the more direct though dangerous route and as these are middle and high school student’s parents rarely accompany them along the way.

I have heard rumors that the city is looking into finding a solution. One of which might be installing a pedestrian bridge over the street. I hope they do, and sooner rather than later. I never want to see what I saw that day happen again. 


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this weekend was the first time since New Year’s that I’ve had alcohol, and I kind of hated it. Friday night was “Margarita Friday”, a day, once a month or so, when 6 or 7 of our friends get together to try a new Mexican restaurant, have a few margaritas, and blow off steam. I drank one margarita and felt pretty sluggish and cruddy Saturday morning.

Then, having not learned my lesson at all, I split a bottle of champagne with my girlfriend at our pre-Valentine’s Day brunch yesterday. Initially, I felt great but by mid-evening I was once again feeling sluggish and cruddy. I had a headache and a sour mood too.

So, maybe Dry January did me some good after all. Maybe it’s just like when I had quit smoking for some time and after a stressful day, I would think I could simply go back to smoking for relief. I would light up and immediately be disgusted by the taste and smell and my body would instantly feel terrible, so too with alcohol. I now know that even occasional drinking has consequences, and, I’ll, I imagine, be less inclined to indulge going forward. 


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have completed week one of Social Norms, Social Change I this week and I really enjoyed it. It’s not a hard course at all but there is enough work and enough new information to help me practice staying focused and managing my time to get it done. Two things I sorely need work on.

It feels good to be learning again. It feels good to think about not just my culture but other cultures and why people do the things they do, even when, especially when it seems so obvious to me that their actions are morally wrong or backward. Norms are hard to change and it isn’t as easy as learning new facts or understanding the harm. 

I have a feeling that this small course is truly the beginning of a long journey for me. I was talking last week with a coworker who, it turns out, has a degree in engineering. He was impressed by the way I spoke of my love for reading and learning and encouraged me to go to school, not just to advance my own career, or to make more money, but simply because he felt deeply that I would love the experience.

He said he felt I was “a scholar at heart” as in “someone who is intelligent or good at learning by studying”. As in, someone for whom learning is a passion. It was the most genuine and beautiful compliment I’ve received in a long time.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this was not a great week for reading and writing. I published pages to this blog that used to be up on Zen and Pi. Both are simple lists. 100 Dreams is a kind of bucket list that includes both the big and seemingly impossible dreams like publishing a collection of essays or swimming with humpback whales to everyday ordinary dreams like getting a library card or learning how to compost.

Am Reading is an ongoing list of books I’ve read with the rating I’ve given each out of five stars. When I start writing reviews again each book there will link to its respective review post.

After our chat, I’ll get a head start on this week’s posts including a couple of Monday motivation posts, a summary of my Dry January experience, a piece for Zen and Pi, and a long-awaited (at least by me anyway) newsletter. I’m also going to revamp and republish my “Now” page here. I pledge to update it at least monthly with new projects and habit changes I’m working on. 


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that it’s time for me to get up and get to work on all the things I would love to check off the to-do list today. It’s time for me to go clean something, write something, read something, and maybe eat something too.

I hope you had a good week. I hope you stayed warm. I hope you made progress in all the ways you’d planned to and I hope any setbacks are easily overcome. I hope you had time for you and I hope your coming week will be even better than the last.

Until next time. 


Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli.

Photo by David Lundgren on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // Nothing is Inconsequential

Hello dear readers! Happy Sunday and welcome. Thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up.

The sun is up and out and all reports promise temperatures near 60. It’s concerning to have such warmth in winter but I’m so ready for all this snow and ice to finally start melting. I’ve got all the windows cracked hoping to cleanse my soul with the crisp clean air. Perhaps Punxsutawney Phil was right, Spring does feel awfully close today.

So, pull up a chair and help yourself to a cup. I’m craving a bulletproof egg latte myself but for the less adventurous I have the usual cold brew and the Moka pot is always on if you want something warm. Let’s talk about last week!

“My cup is full of air. I should empty it and fill it with love. Or coffee, as the two are synonymous to me.”

— Jarod Kintz, This Book is Not for Sale

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this past week felt very long. Our weather was all over the place again. We started the week with snow and freezing temperatures and ended with sunshine and ended nearly 15 degrees above average.

Despite the rising temperatures many of our streets are still covered in think layers of ice. Weeks like this are hard when you work in a school bus. Traffic was awful and accidents were happening everywhere. We ran very late and had more than a couple of close calls. It was frustrating but in the end, I was just glad we made it to and from safely.

In addition to that stress, I spent much of the week especially exhausted. Between my girlfriend’s lingering cold and cough and my anxiety, I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in over a week now. I’m coping well though, considering. Extra coffee and afternoon cat naps have certainly helped. I’m hoping the new workout routine I’m starting today will help too.

I’m debating talking to my doctor about trying medication to help mitigate my anxiety. I can see that my old coping mechanisms aren’t working as well and I feel myself slowly losing control of my body and my thoughts. I’m tense. I’m irritable. I’m getting “stuck” more often on small inconveniences and any amount of change has become terrifying. Nothing is inconsequential anymore. Nothing is insignificant. Nothing is okay!

I’m overwhelmed and I need help but asking for it isn’t easy.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my resolutions this year are being implemented in stages. My plan is to take some time at the beginning of every month to reassess my goals and decide what I need to start doing as well as what I want to stop doing. I never want to be working toward what I used to want, you know?

Last month’s resolutions included not drinking alcohol and cutting back on my sugar intake, as well as writing, reading, and doing my Spanish lessons on Duolingo every day. I did well on all fronts though cutting out sugar proved the most difficult. The stuff is in everything!

As for this month, today I’m starting a beginner bodyweight fitness workout, a few days ago I enrolled in a Coursera online course, Social Norms, Social Change I to kick off my resolution to always be taking a free online course. Besides those two resolutions I’m resolving to post weekly on Zen and Pi again, and by mid-month, my weekly-ish newsletter will, hopefully, return.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I’m working on a proper post to wrap up Dry January but I want to quickly say that, for me, the difference between a moderate alcohol habit and drinking no alcohol at all was not drastically different. I lost a few pounds but that could have just as easily been a result of lowered sugar intake.

I’m working on a proper post to wrap up Dry January but I want to quickly say that, for me, the difference between a moderate alcohol habit and drinking no alcohol at all was not drastically different. I lost a few pounds but that could have just as easily been a result of lowered sugar intake.

I didn’t sign up for the Dry January challenge because I had an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, but because the medication I’m on is affecting my liver to such a degree that a relaxing glass of wine after work would impact my system much more than it would other people.

Unfortunately, after an ultrasound and further blood tests this week, my doctor has determined that I suffer from a mild case of “non-alcoholic fatty liver disease”. I’m of the belief it is yet another long-term side effect of steroid use after my initial diagnosis of ulcerative colitis, but there is no way to know for sure. In any case, I’m being advised to continue to severely limit or abstain entirely from alcohol.

So, my little experiment will become a long-term habit change and to be honest, I’m a little sad about that. I don’t feel reliant on alcohol but I have always enjoyed it. It seems a small thing but I enjoyed alcohol the way other people enjoy new and exotic foods. For some people, cooking food, experimenting with food, sharing food, and learning about food is a big part of their lives. I enjoy trying new drinks and playing bartender for family and friends. I enjoy pairing wines with meals and knowing just what kinds to recommend to others who are less experienced or knowledgeable.

Going forward that will have to change, and I will have to change too.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that it’s Super Bowl Sunday here in the states, a sporting event turned unofficial national holiday but here at home not much fanfare is being made. One of the things that has kept my relationship together is our mutual disinterest (and oftentimes disdain) for the cult of football. We’ll watch because the commercials are awesome, but the outcome won’t mean much to me either way.

Instead, we’re spending the day cleaning the house, relaxing, and making more wedding plans.

Yesterday we looked at yet another venue but this time everything felt different. We fell in love with the place the moment we walked in. It’s intimate, urban, located in the heart of the city and most importantly, it feels like us. It isn’t the outdoor location I originally envisioned, but it’s not far from an outdoor ceremony location we’d considered previously. And, in the case of inclement weather, this place can accommodate saying our vows indoors. It’s as close to perfect as I can afford.

This week we’ll put down the deposit and lock in our date—which was miraculously still available!—and start chipping away at the seemingly endless list of decisions and to-do’s leading up to our big day.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the sunlight is coming in low through the west windows and the air coming in is chilling fast. It’s time to start dinner and to turn the game on. I may not care about the outcome but to not watch feels like too great a transgression against societal norms.

I hope you had a good week. I hope you accomplished something and if you didn’t I hope you know you can begin again tomorrow. I hope whoever you are rooting for tonight wins and that you celebrate safely tonight.

Until next time.


Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // Strong Enough to Examine, and Change

Hello dear readers! Happy Sunday and welcome. Thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up.

Waking up was a little easier today than most Sundays. I think knowing that I have an extra day away from work tomorrow makes it easier for me to get this day going. A three-day weekend really makes it clear how much a four-day work week would do for the human psyche and soul.

So, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. The sun is shining and the temperatures are rising fast. It’s going to be the warmest week of the day and I plan to get out and soak up the sun while I can. So, quickly now, let’s talk about last week.

“Presently the small of coffee began to fill the room. This was morning’s hallowed moment. In such a fragrance the perversity of the world is forgotten, and the soul is inspired with faith in the future…”

Halldór Laxness, Independent People

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that last week was good, I think. It was certainly not bad, but it was long and tiring. I’m beginning to believe the problem is with me and not with work or the world. I’ve been feeling especially tired for weeks now and as someone who has a chronic illness, I have learned to pay attention to my body and to take action when something is wrong. Better to make a few appointments and run a few tests now before things get bad.

I’m at the halfway point between last months infusion day and next month’s. I’ve had a theory now that my infusion days are set too far apart and that I would do better at six-week intervals rather than eight. This month I’m tracking my symptoms and energy levels so I can present my case to the powers that be and get my treatment plan revised.

In the meantime, I’m taking one day every week to simply rest. I got the idea last week from Eclectic Alli’s Weekend Coffee Share post and gave it a try myself yesterday. I talked about it a bit last night already but I want to say again to anyone that needs to hear it, acknowledging that you need to rest, giving yourself permission to do so, and even seeking a little reassurance from loved ones as I did with my fiance, can really go a long way.

I was able to rest without anxiety and without guilt. I was able to really rest.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this week was an okay writing week. It was better than last week, but I’m still struggling to finish the drafts I start and I still haven’t begun work on my larger projects. This coming week I’m going to keep on doing what I am doing and trusting that I will keep getting better as long as I keep stringing words together either on the screen or on the page. I have to trust in the long run and broaden my focus from the day-to-day.

I’m not really disappointed though because even though it might have been a less than ideal writing week, it was a stellar reading week! I finished both Homer’s The Iliad and On the Genealogy of Moral by Friedrich Nietzsche, two books I had failed for months to get through in 2018. I started The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It’s very different from my last two reads but I think that is how I proceed best through books by jumping from one genre or time period to another radically different.

Next, I’ve got The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery, then a couple of volumes of Saga comics, and then The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson.


If we were having coffee I would tell you that we’re over halfway through Dry January and I am finally seeing some benefits. I’ve lost weight, a surprising amount of weight and I do feel like I am sleeping better through the night than I have in a long, long time.

I’m starting to think now of if, and how, I will return to alcohol once the month is over. I’ve broken my dependence on the need for alcohol to trigger a relaxing response after a hard or frustrating day at work. I no longer need to come home and pour a glass of wine or make a margarita on those especially hard days. I no longer feel that social gatherings or events require alcohol to be fun. I feel like I have a little more choice about when I drink, and I don’t want to lose that.

Going forward, I will regulate alcohol to the realm of “special occasion”. It will be a once a week or less indulgence. When I purchase alcohol I will buy in smaller quantities so that I don’t have so much to “get through”.

Drinking alcohol isn’t inherently a bad thing, and while I did indulge regularly, I didn’t and still do not, consider my relationship to alcohol to be problematic. It’s like sugar or fast food, or coffee even, it just became a habit and I want for all my habits to be a little less automatic. I’m proud of myself for being strong enough to examine and change.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that as much as I enjoy chatting with you the morning is moving on toward midday and I’ve got shopping to do and maybe a lunch date with my lady if I can leave soon enough.

I hope you had a wonderful week. I hope you made some progress and if you experienced any setbacks; I hope you know you can start again as many times as you need. Get out and see the sun if you can, and rest without one iota of guilt if you can’t, okay?

Until next time.


Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

012//365

Spent a whole day at the movie theater for an M. Night Shyamalan marathon! They showed Unbreakable, Split, and his newest film, Glass. Unbreakable is an absolute masterpiece, and I walked away with a greater appreciation for Split. Glass was amazing and I cannot for the life of me understand the harsh reviews. Ignore them and go see it.

Before the films, there was a Q and A with the big man himself live streamed in the theater. It was a great session where he talked a lot about his own mistakes and lack of courage with his art. There was one answer he gave that really struck me.

He was asked about how much of him is in his characters. He said he couldn’t be sure. There was maybe some but being a part of your characters, and them being part of you wasn’t the important part at all.

He said, as a writer (or as an actor) you have to be ready not just to understand your characters and their actions, but you have to be ready to defend them. You have to tell the world why and not from a place of neutrality, but a place of pure emotion and bias, even the bad stuff. We have to stand firmly on their side and shout to the world their reasoning and defense.

I don’t write fiction—I don’t write much of anything at all at the moment—but I have always wished I did. Coming up with characters and their stories always felt like impossible tasks but maybe I am not doing enough looking and defending?

P.S. I was good and stuck to my promise not to drink. I’m very proud of myself and I have a feeling that it’s only going to keep getting easier.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

011//365

The snow fell all day. It’s still falling and the hourly forecast says it’ll be falling through the early morning. The inches we shoveled from the driveway have already been replenished by the storm.

Tomorrow we are going to a movie marathon at our favorite movie theater. So that means an early night for us. The marathon begins just after 10:00AM and the roads will be worse than they were today. We’ll have to go to bed early, on a Friday night. I’m excited but bummed too. I like staying up

Dry January is going well so far but tomorrow will be a challenge. We’re going to watch 6+ hours of movies in one sitting in a place we always order a drink in and I don’t know if I can not drink. I know it can be fun without alcohol and I honestly can’t come up with a better reason to be so weak except that things are more fun with alcohol.

Knowing (admitting) this weakness only makes me want to be stronger. I don’t want to let myself down. There will be plenty of opportunities after January for alcohol. If I still want it.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

005//365

Why do I have such a hard time seeing past what is difficult or scary to all the great things I can have or experience if I would only get up, face my life, and do the work? Why must I procrastinate so damn much?

The living room revamp project is nearly complete. All that’s left is small wall touch-ups and then we can finally put everything, the T.V. the couch, the record player, and the animal’s beds back in its place. The paint looks amazing and I wish we’d done this years ago instead of whining and stalling because it was hard and scary.

Day 5 of Dry January has been the hardest so far. We—my girlfriend, is joining me in this challenge too—realized we have been replacing alcohol with food. At the end of the day, when we would normally share a hard cider between us we’ve been opting instead for pizza, hot wings, and tacos. To be fair, we’ve also cut back in sugar and our bodies are obviously having a hard time coping.

The first step is admitting you have a problem, right?


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

002//365

I don’t feel like the fact that a new year has begun has fully sunk in for me yet. Today doesn’t feel much different from yesterday and yesterday didn’t feel much different from December 31st, 2018. I guess all the hype and high expectation is an illusion. The reality is much more gradual. It will be many months before 2019 decides out what kind of year it wants to be.

Today we finished spackling the holes and sanding all the walls. It took a long time and took a lot out of us too, but much as I hated every minute of the work I have to say, I’m very proud of the progress we made on our little living room revamp today. The hardest parts are over now and tomorrow promises to be easier on the body and, hopefully, leave a lot more time for writing and resolutions.

Day 2 of Dry January was surprisingly easy considering a nice cold hard cider was just what I needed after all that work and would have gone perfectly with the hot wings we ordered for dinner. But I was strong and substituted a sweet iced tea and I’m opting for ginger tea again before bed.

So far so good 2019!


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren